Preserve Our Trees, Sustain Our Future
Chief Conservator of Forests, Shri. Praveen N.R.
Tree Officer, Shivajinagar - Ghole Road, Shri. Ravindra Khandaregholeroad
Tree Officer, Aundh-Baner, Shri. Sandeep Khalate
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Shri Ravi Khandare
What is the issue?
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has taken a concerning step, revealing plans to uproot 350 trees during the second phase of widening Ganeshkhind Road. The trees range from Gulmohar to Nilgiris and are at least 30 to 40 years old. This initiative has witnessed the ruthless hacking of four trees within a society's premises. A resident from the area says that over 40 to 50 trees over 60 years old have already been chopped. Even more alarming is the intended demolition of 22 homes, affecting the lives of 150 residents and sparking intense protests within the community. Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident, as numerous trees have fallen victim to development in Pune, with Koregaon Park reporting 77 trees slated for the axe just days ago.
Trees are not just an integral part of our ecosystem; they are life-givers. Their significance extends beyond aesthetics, as they purify our air, offer shade, combat pollution, and sustain a rich tapestry of wildlife. The 350 trees marked for removal along Ganeshkhind Road constitute an invaluable green lung, adding to the locality's allure and fostering people's well-being.
We acknowledge the imperatives of development and progress, yet we stand resolute in our conviction that such advancement should not come at the cost of our environment. Alternatives that allow the harmonious coexistence of trees and development need to be explored, and eco-friendly and sustainable building practices that incorporate the existing trees into the architectural designs need to be promoted. We urge all stakeholders and decision-makers to consider the following alternatives before resorting to the felling of these majestic trees and demolitions of people's homes:
1) Consult with Experts & the Forest Department: Seek guidance from environmental experts to devise solutions that balance development with environmental preservation. The Forest Department needs to conduct the relevant assessments and provide recommendations and approvals before the trees can be cut or transplanted!
2) The full enforcement of the Maharashtra Protection and Preservation of Trees Act needs to be evoked.
3) Public Hearing: Engage the community, including residents and local organisations, to brainstorm and collaborate on solutions that accommodate both development and tree preservation.
4) Transplantation and Reforestation: Provide a report on past tree transplantation activities and their current status. In addition to exploring tree transplantation to another suitable location, create plans for investing in reforestation efforts to maintain and improve the green cover within the area. If tree transplantation is considered and approved, it must be carried out by the authorised authorities.